Category: Learning Design

Understand in learning objectives – it’s the forest, not the trees

If you’re a faculty member, you can probably tell me all about the first time an instructional designer said to you “You can’t use the word ‘understand’ in a learning objective.” And it probably made you mad. The oft-cited reason to avoid “understand” is because “You can’t measure it.” And this is where I’d like to take issue with Instructional Design 101.  Can you always measure an “understand” learning objective? No. Can you sometimes measure an “understand” learning objective? Yes. And it really comes down to the definition you use. understand: mental comprehension of a topic understand: demonstrated comprehension...

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Group Exploration in Math

I am often asked how to get learners to spend more time “exploring” in their learning rather than just recalling or responding to specific prompts for information. Exploration of the learning space is particularly important because learners find the interesting nooks and crannies of the concepts that they would not otherwise discover. Let me share an example. Yesterday in class we needed to spend more time on exponential functions. I began class by displaying a graph of y=2^x and asking the class specific questions like “The graph of an exponential function has an asymptote, where is it?” Only to...

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Expectations About Studying and Syllabi

Recently we’ve seen more attention paid to self-regulated learning as it pertains to student success, especially for at-risk college students (especially first-year students). At least we are starting to recognize the serious contribution of the student in efforts at retention and learning. Anyways, I digress. Self-regulated learning (or SRL) involves students evaluating what they know, deciding what they need to learn, choosing strategies to bridge that gap, and then … actually using those strategies. Unfortunately, there seems to be a KAP (knowledge attitude practice) gap that is between students and their best intentions towards success. I found this dissertation, A Qualitative Inquiry...

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The “Please Grade Early” Option

This semester I am more mindful than ever that some of my students are in extremely stressful circumstances. Between the normal stresses students face (family health issues, paying for college, etc), I also have students who are refugees, who have family members that might be deported, international students wondering if they will be sent back home soon, and LGTBQ students worried about their safety and place in society. Some students can take the stress of an exam on top of all of this, and for others its the tipping point to really being overcome with anxiety. Because I’m an...

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Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM

Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math In the last 5 years, there has been a rise in what we might call “large-scale digital learning experiments.”  These take the form of centralized courses, vendor-created courseware, online homework systems, MOOCs, and free-range learning platforms. If we mine the research, successes, and failures coming out of these experiments, what can we discover about designing better digital learning experiences and technology for the learning of mathematics? Learning at Scale: Using Research To Improve Learning Practices and Technology for Teaching Math from Maria Andersen   Possibly...

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